Eucharis grandiflora (pronounced YOU-kar-is gran-di-FLO-ra), commonly known as Amazon lily, Eucharist lily or Madonna lily, forms on a low bulbous plant with broad, glossy green basal leaves & is similar in appearance to the daffodil. The glistening, highly fragrant white flowers are star like or trumpet shaped and has delicate, apple-green throats. They bloom in clusters of two to eight blossoms on fleshy stalks that are approximately 45-60 cm.
Eucharis is derived from the Greek word kharisma, meaning “grace” or “charm,” and refers to the plant’s attractive, fragrant flowers. In Latin, eucharis means “elegant.” The species name grandiflora means “large flowers.” In the language of flowers, Amazon lilies symbolize “maiden charms.”
Amazon lilies are members of the Amaryllidaceae family; however, sometimes they are listed as members of the Liliaceae family. Relatives include amaryllis (Hippeastrum), Narcissus, Nerine and Clivia.
Amazon lilies are shade-loving plants native to Central America and South America. They are indigenous to the bordering equatorial regions of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru and originally were collected along the Rio Magdalena in Colombia. Amazon lilies are available year-round but on a limited basis, and they can be hard to find.
Handling Amazon lily plants may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction, so it is best to wear gloves when working with them. All parts of the plant can be toxic if ingested in great enough quantities, so keep Amazon lilies out of the reach of children and pets. However, in several villages in Ecuador the plants are cultivated for their medicinal value; decoctions of the whole plant are used as remedy and tonic medicine.
To make Amazon Lilies last longer, poke a tiny pinhole just below the blossoms; this will allow air to escape and water to fill the hollow stems and keep them turgid. Amazon lilies purchased on the stem can last for seven to 10 days.
Delightfully fragrant, this elegant flower is lovely for weddings.
These blossoms create a focal point in any type of design. Their unusual forms make them excellent choices for bridal bouquets and corsages.